The Gono Bhaban yesterday denied The Daily Star reporter access to cover the prime minister's press conference without giving any reason. We are, however, carrying the report based on information obtained from secondary sources.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday rejected outright any dialogue with the BNP on the next general election.
“Why do I have to sit with killers? Every initiative had been made to bring them [BNP] to talks. The election was held somehow and people have accepted it. Forty percent people cast votes. Then what is the necessity of calling them to talks again?” she questioned.
The PM was briefing newsmen at the Gono Bhaban on the outcome of her three-day trip to the UK.
Also the ruling Awami League president, Hasina said, “I myself had phoned [BNP chairperson] Khaleda for talks. It's unfortunate that I have to face queries repeatedly about holding talks with those who had killed my father and also tried to kill me. I did my best for the sake of the people and democracy and that's enough.
“They [BNP] have missed the electoral train, which has left the station already. Now they will have to wait at the station for boarding the next train. What is the necessity for us to call them to talks now?”
Queried, the PM categorically said the next parliamentary polls would be held in the light of the democratic process and as per constitutional provisions.
About the BNP's plan to wage a movement after Eid-ul-Fitr, the AL chief said the government would take every step to maintain law and order and protect people's lives and properties. “Let them [BNP] take to the streets. The Awami League activists as well as people are also there. We will meet them there. Let's see who scores how many goals.”
On the government move to scrap the constitutional provision for the Supreme Judicial Council, which deals with impeachment of judges, the PM said the Supreme Judicial Council did not go with parliamentary democracy.
“After assuming office, General Ziaur Rahman brought in the Supreme Judicial Council through a martial law ordinance. During the Pakistan era, Ayub Khan had introduced the system first. But the court has declared Zia's grabbing of power illegal,” Hasina said, adding that the government wanted to return to the 1972 constitution under which parliament was empowered to impeach judges.
People, she said, are the repositories of all power in a parliamentary democracy and, therefore, people's representatives should get back the power to impeach judges.
About UK Prime Minister David Cameron's take on the January 5 polls, which were boycotted by the BNP and its allies, Hasina said her British counterpart told her that whatever had happened had happened but they did not want to look back at the past.
“We discussed the elections, and the issues of participatory and some uncontested polls came up. But the British prime minister made it clear that they want to look forward and work with us.
“Had the UK government rejected the elections, they would not have invited me as the prime minister to visit London,” she observed.
It is to be noted that, according to a post on the UK government's official website, the British government has expressed disappointment over the January 5 elections in Bangladesh.
About rumours regarding an understanding between the AL and the Jamaat-e-Islami, Hasina said there was no such possibility. “The Awami League never believes in the politics of compromise. What would Awami League achieve by reaching an understanding with the Jamaat?” she asked.
The government, she added, was trying to bring back the fugitive killers of Bangabandhu from the USA and Canada. “But it depends on the decisions of the Canadian and US governments.”
Terming the two countries democratic, she said it was very strange that while they weigh meticulously the elections of every democratic country, they also shelter killers.
Responding to a question on BNP Senior Vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, the PM alleged that he had been hatching conspiracies from abroad as the BNP did not do politics for the country. Rather, its leaders did it for their own well-being.
“Trial of Tarique in connection with money laundering, August 21 grenade attack and corruption is underway. The law will take its own course. But time has come and the government will take initiatives to make sure that the trial is fair and fast,” she stated.